By CYRUS OMBATI
Nairobi, Kenya: Businesses were Tuesday affected as university students started their protests against the planned hiking of fees and lowering of maximum loan awarded to students by the Higher Education Loans Board.
Police are engaging the students in running battles at the UON main campus as parts of Uhuru Highway is blocked. Motorists are being diverted to use other routes.
Major businesses in Nairobi remained closed as police engaged a section of University of Nairobi students in running battles, lobbing teargas canisters at them.
Other reports indicated seven Sonu leaders had been detained as part of efforts to contain the protests.
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Major roads including University Way and Uhuru Highway were affected by the protests as police engaged the students in running battles.
In Maseno, students blocked the main Kisumu-Busia highway and stoned some motorists.
A vehicle belonging to the Standard Group had its windscreens smashed by the students in Maseno.
Similar incidents were reported in Lower and Upper Kabete Campus. In Nakuru Town, Egerton university students engaged police in running battles too to demand the release of their leaders who had been arrested.
Masinde Muliro too was affected in Kakamega Town as tension high at the Kenyatta University gate.
Tension mounted in the Central Business District, Nairobi after police said they will not allow the students to hold a procession as earlier planned.
Nairobi police said they had information the students had been infiltrated by criminals.
“We have told them to call off their strike and so far we are trying to see what we can do,” said Nairobi deputy police boss Moses Ombati.
Tens of anti-riot police were positioned at various places ready to confront the students.
Some officers surrounded Jogoo House, the headquarters of Ministry of Education, where the students planned to congregate.
More officers were at Parliament Buildings where the students were dispersed using teargas.
The dispersed group ran allover CBD while shouting anti Jacob Kaimenyi slogans.
There were more teargas canisters thrown near the UON main campus, Kimathi Street and near Central police station where the students tried to congregate.
According to the student leaders, the Government is planning to double the fee for regular students, which currently stands at Sh28,000 per year.
The leaders had warned motorists to keep off major roads leading to the city centre ahead of today’s demonstrations.
The student leaders questioned the Government’s motive to raise university fee at a time when it was being haunted by the Anglo Leasing scandal.
The student leaders had earlier given Prof Kaimenyi 14 days to establish a task force to review university fees, insisting they had not been consulted.